Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bestest of 2005 #3 (tie): Wolf Parade- Apologies to the Queen Mary

Yeah yeah yeah, pretty cliche. We know that this record has been near the top of just about every year end list you've read. And we also know that this band does sound like you know who to some extent. But we'll go ahead and take sides with the L Train clones rather than the haters, because we listened to Wolf Parade more than just about any other band this year, and unlike some of the other albums on our year end list, Apologies to the Queen Mary was easier to get into than Texas Tech. Its a record that you can put on at any time in just about any place, and all year long we did just that.

And really, does Wolf Parade actually sound like Modest Mouse THAT much? Maybe "Grounds for Divorce" does, but should that really hold you back from getting into a record that is clearly an almost masterpiece? See, if Wolf Parade sounds like Modest Mouse, it sounds like Modest Mouse did in 1996. Not how 1996 Modest Mouse sounds right now, but how it sounded then. New. Exciting. Different. A record you want to talk about, think about, and oh yeah- listen to. All the damn time. Wolf Parade is catchy and poppy without being dumb or cute, and they also have two of the most compelling vocalists that we've heard in a straight up indie pop band in a long time, not to mention some of the greatest organ/synth arrangements to be recorded since god knows when played over bouncy, tight rhythms that hold it all together while teasing you with the possibility that everything might just fall apart. You can go to Pitchfork or the New York Times to read much more eloquent descriptions of their sound if you need to, and chances are you've probably already heard this record anyway. So we won't bore you with the details.

If this band was a Modest Mouse rip off and still good, we would probably not hate them.... but we would know their limitations. Wolf Parade takes tiny pieces of whatever Modest Mouse does, along with Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, David Byrne, OMD and dozens of other critic favorites from past and present. Then it makes it something completely different, fusing those influences with a confidence and energy that you don't hear every day. Or even every year. And we can promise you, Apologies to the Queen Mary is just as, if not more exciting than anything Modest Mouse has done in quite a while... not to mention pretty much every other band on the planet.

(NOTE 1: Here is a cut that you might not have heard. Its called "Disco Sheets" and its from the Wolf Parade ep that came out earlier in 2005. We don't know why it wasn't on the album, because we think its one of their best.)

(NOTE 2: As you might have figured out, this #3 tie means that there will be 11 albums in the top ten. Sue me.)


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